Mike’s 2007-2007 Project Archives

On this page you will find a collection of my personal and professional creative projects — one and all a labor of love.

2007-05: SCWL Blog
View: SCWL Blog Image »

View image of SCWL Blog

On the road to becoming a Blog Master I made another theme. This one, like many of the projects I’ve done lately, is built upon the Beast-Blog v.2.0 foundation. It’s all good. I like the theme, it’s an SEO powerhouse, and it’s semantic, solid, and accessible. Plus, since it’s quasi-production, clients save a considerable sum. It’s a win-win situation.

This site is for a person who purveys and promotes tapes for SCWL, which is “Subconscious to Conscious Way of Learning” — an audio technique of reaching the subconscious mind to better enrich one’s life. Sounds cool. Sort of like playing an Ozzy Osbourne record backwards, but for the good, not evil.

This theme also features a sidebar ad randomizer script to offer a small step towards limited blog monetization. The main request was to create a eye-catching masthead and keep the rest easy on the eyes with an open feel. The client has expressed great pleasure from the design. I’m happy with it, too. Win-win.

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2007-05: SarahCherim.com
View: SarahCherim.com Image »

View image of SarahCherim.com

It’s good for the soul to do some pro-bono work now and then, and this is one such case. This time it’s for my very own daughter who has decided the time is right to get away from that silly MySpace and Live Journal and get a real blog — one of her own, one that can grow with her. I was delighted to do this project.

I used a slightly modified version of my Beast-Blog v.2.0 theme. I added a script to randomize her blog's masthead image from a selection of around eight images. Cool stuff there. I also added what I feel is a sort of clever PayPal donation button. It features a dancing cow image with some label text… nothing more. If you investigate, aside from the animated image, it’s really quite accessible.

It was good timing making this for my daughter. As soon as I finished the blog, she read her horoscope which told her to start a blog. Cool, huh? Read about this over there in her welcome post. Happy blogging, Sarah!

Need a WordPress theme? I can restyle this theme to suit your needs and tastes. To learn more, please Contact me.

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2007-05: Marketing 2oh Logo/Masthead
View: Marketing 2oh Logo/Masthead Image »

View image of Marketing 2oh Logo/Masthead

This project was straightforward. The client is using my Beast-Blog v.2.0 theme and wanted an image pack for it. He picked the colors, gave me a few example sites to look at, and stated a want of something clean and simple. I took it from there.

The job went beyond that, though. He needed a logo and identity for not just the blog he’s working on, but a whole series of blogs. The common thread is that these blogs will be used for Web 2.0 services and education: marketing (the flagship project), sales, etc. Taking a look at the masthead I’m showing here — of which the “2OH” orange dot is the actual logo — you can see how this will be very portable. Swap out “Marketing” for “Sales” and you get the picture.

I’m really happy with the look and so is the client so all is good.

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2007-04: Team Hoos
View: Team Hoos Image »

View image of Team Hoos

When my GBHXonline.com web hosting partner and good friend, Scott Hege, told me he was installing a WordPress web log for his two kids: Pickyman and Peanut — one is two, the other on her way in two weeks at the time of this writing — I suggested my Beast-Blog v.2.0 theme. He told me he’d love too but wanted a theme with wild animals, not leaves. I quickly explained that that was simply placeholder imagery and is supposed to be changed out by the user. I explained it’s an excellent platform from which to build, not the end result.

Then I offered to make his kids an image pack and edit the style sheets free of charge. I wanted them to have the best. Scott works hard upholding his end of our partnership so it was a pleasure doing this for him and his “Team Hoos,” — he did’t put up an argument. I made the theme happen.

I really like how this one turned out: easy to read, easy to navigate, colorful yet not at all gaudy. Considering that the oldest of Scott’s kids is only two, I assume it is he I am making it for at this juncture. And, in that case, I did well: Scott loves it. For the record, his son loves it, too; he’s really drawn to the animals. Yay!

Need a WordPress theme? I can restyle this theme to suit your needs and tastes. To learn more, please Contact me.

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2007-04: Alberto’s Riverside
View: Alberto’s Riverside Image »

View image of Alberto’s Riverside

This project came by way of a visual referral. The client saw one of my previous works and was impressed enough to contact me and request that I re-do his very dated tables-based site with one that was accessible, SEO optimized, and easy to update.

Naturally I went with WordPress for the back-end, to which I added my Beast-Blog v.2.0 theme — which was modified extensively for this project — and my WP Contact Form to complete the package (disabled upon request).

Overall I am very pleased with the outcome of this project. Personally this is one of my favorite designs. If you like wood, you’ll probably like it too. It reflects well the interior of the eatery: warm, cozy, and rustic, with lots of wood. Hopefully the client in this case will use it on a regular basis to publish the restaurant’s online newsletter. If they do, the site should be quite successful.

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2007-03: Innerline Plumbing Blog
View: Innerline Plumbing Blog Image »

View image of Innerline Plumbing Blog

It’s nice when I don’t have to explain the advantages of web accessibility and a client just wants it to be that way. That describes this project. The client wanted his company’s blog to be accessible. He has a wide range of visitors, doesn’t want to limit access, and he knows the SEO benefits so he contacted me and asked me to bring his plan to fruition.

The project uses WordPress for the back-end and the theme was build on my popular Beast-Blog v.2.0 theme. It also uses the plugins that come with that theme, with exception to the contact form. The WP Contact Form used was my commercial multi-user version — which is a must for businesses.

As typical of all my work, this is not only accessible, but it is also standards-compliant mark-up, valid XHTML 1.0 strict, and it’s pure CSS. This was a fun project and I like how it came out.

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2007-03: PHP AutoRun v.1.0
Launch: PHP AutoRun v.1.0 Live Site »

Visit PHP AutoRun v.1.0

PHP AutoRun is a tutorial/presentation system I made which is used for web presentations, tutorials, slide shows, etc. Its usages are only limited by the imagination. I’m really delighted with the outcome and I’m pleased that I was able to pull it off without using any JavaScript at all. PHP isn’t really supposed to pull off stuff like this, but where there’s a will…

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with using JavaScript, but my self-imposed challenge was to make do without it. Want to see more? I have two real-world working copies I can show you. First there is the “CSS Tutorial” I made, then there is Accessites’ “Why Web Accessibility Makes Sense” presentation I just launched. This system is available commercially. See the demo for details.

Need a presentaional site? This AutoRun application is available as is or restyled to suit your needs and tastes. It is very SEO-effective. To learn more, please Contact me.

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2007-03: Sheldon Farm Site
View: Sheldon Farm Site Image »

View image of Sheldon Farm Site

This project was given to me eleven months ago at the time of this writing. It’s an e-commerce site with an RSS feed, contact form, the works. I created the theme/template within two weeks of landing the job, and I’m really quite pleased with the outcome. Unfortunately, since that time, I am still awaiting the content for the site. The owner, apparently, was or is too busy yet didn’t want to involve me or anyone else as a copy writer. Moreover, he didn’t seem that interested — which is a shame since a successful site requires at least some level of effort by the owner. It’s a shame since I hated having to break my stride and put the project down.

I have since been removed from the project by the owner of the site for not getting the content done. Since he did not supply me with the content as he said he would I really didn’t know what to say. I’m quite pleased with the site thus far so it’s a shame not to see it done, but my hands are truly tied. I decided to post it here anyway, to at least show a screen shot since it was a lot of work and I think it’s striking in its appearance.

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2007-02: InTheMac.com Masthead
View: InTheMac.com Masthead Image »

View image of InTheMac.com Masthead

This was a fun little project. The site, which uses the default WordPress theme Kubrick needed a masthead image. I was tasked with the project.

My job was to bring the client’s idea to fruition. The idea: Make a Mac desktop masthead. The site owner even supplied a nice screenshot — which was essential since I am one without an Apple.

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2007-02: Accessites.org v2
Launch: Accessites.org v2 Live Site »

Visit Accessites.org v2

We needed a new publishing system at Accessites.org to keep up with our growth. It was decided WordPress would be the best way to go. And in light of the fact I had just finished the highly accessible Beast-Blog v.2.0 theme, we decided that would be the theme to use.

This project required “tweaks” to enhance every ounce of its default accessibility and a new color palette/image set. Two days after I had begun it was done. The hardest part was transferring the content.

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2007-01: Beast-Blog v.2.0 Theme
Launch: Beast-Blog v.2.0 Theme Live Site »

Visit Beast-Blog v.2.0 Theme

It took me two years, but I finally released a version two of my popular Beast Blog Theme. This version was about 80 hours in the making. The first 40 were spent on a client’s theme — my motivation — then I spent another 40 hours tweaking it and making it more usable for public distribution.

This theme version, like the last, is accessible (to Priority 2 this time), usable, standards-compliant, and hopefully attractive. I really like it and I am my toughest critic so that’s saying something.

This theme is written by default to the XHTML 1.0 Strict level and obviously it uses CSS for styles and positioning. The CSS was re-written from the ground up. Speaking of CSS, this theme comes with one style sheet for handheld devices and one for print, in addition to its default screen-media style sheet.

Need a WordPress theme? This theme is available as a free download (link on site). Or, better yet, I can restyle it to suit your needs and tastes. To learn more, please Contact me.

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2007-01: Finding Your Marbles Blog
View: Finding Your Marbles Blog Image »

View image of Finding Your Marbles Blog

I was asked by this client to make a WordPress template using my accessible Beast Blog Theme. The was a huge concern over accessibility, to include addressing color blindness, and usability. For some of the visitors to this site, this will be key. The theme had to be open and very friendly. A “feel good” theme, if you will. Some of the site’s visitors will be suffering from acute depression and this site is to be their salvation. I had to make it a comfortable place for them to be.

I didn’t quote much money as I can usually do an existing theme redesign in a day more or less. I figured I’d turn this around in one day. The fact is, though, I ended up spending about 38 hours on this project, on my dime. For three days I toiled into the wee hours. The reason: was it was time and this was an opportunity. You see, for quite some time I have been meaning to re-do the Beast-Blog theme so I could improve its short-comings, make it smarter and simpler, to make a better CSS, clean up the mark-up, and even give it a better SEO edge. In other words, to apply what I’ve learned since I made the original in 2005. To do this I had to bite the bullet, so to speak, and tear the old one down to its core and build it back up one piece at a time.

The result: The client loves it and so do I. Not just from a design perspective — which the client was very pleased about — but under the hood too. It’s probably my best WordPress theme to date (and will become the bbv2_lnk theme). It’s got it all. Not just style, but accessibility, semantic coding, the works. I’m delighted. It’s not Beast-Blog version 2 yet, that still needs to happen (has happened), but all the hard work is done and I’m quite happy about that. Stay-tuned for updates and v.2.0… it will be forthcoming and soon I hope. (It has.)

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